Penticton Western News letter to the editor

Letter: Need to reduce fossil fuels

How can the city’s operation emissions from buildings and vehicles be reduced?

On Oct. 3, sustainable energy researcher Rose Murphy spoke at an event put on by First Things First Okanagan. (The next FTFO event is on Nov. 1).

She covered how we can make an impact on implementing policies that reduce our fossil fuel emissions. The other day, I recognized her name in an Oct. 10 article online, titled Vancouver’s Big Climate Plans.

In the article it said 96 per cent of Vancouver’s GHGs come from buildings and transportation. A chart for all of BC shows the top emission sector (oil and gas at 26 per cent) followed by transportation at 23 per cent and buildings at 12 per cent.

To be eligible for the provincial grant for the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP), Penticton must fill out a CARIP report.

In the report, Penticton’s corporate GHG emissions (from services delivered by the city) are quantified, but not broken down into sectors. Total corporate emissions in 2018 were 2,018 tonnes CO2 equivalent (tCO2e), 34 per cent higher than 2016. The report claims carbon neutrality, partly by offsetting two-thirds of its emissions based on Avoided Forest Conversion.

The city has purchased offsets for the remaining emissions. City operation’s reduction goals are 20% by 2020. No mention of the baseline year and it’s tCO2e emissions in relation to that goal, or for 2030/2040.

This year an International Monetary Fund’s working paper stated “the risk of catastrophic and irreversible disaster is rising, implying potentially infinite costs of unmitigated climate change, including … human extinction”.

The key word there “unmitigated.” All levels of government must act in proportion to the scale of the climate crisis.

The IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 C (SR1.5) from late 2018 states that we need to reduce global emissions 45 per cent by 2030 to keep warming to manageable levels.

The time for incremental reductions has passed. If we want to prevent runaway global heating, bold action is needed—for the sake of our economy and our ecosystems.

So I ask city council, how can the city’s operation emissions from buildings and vehicles be reduced? What is your plan?

B.C. Transit has a plan for an all-electric bus fleet. Electric vehicles and heat pumps have been shown to achieve cost savings over time.

Surely if we can build the SOEC to reach financial returns, we can do the same in this case.

Paul Russo

Penticton

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